TAB Talks #4 “Christian Schwartz” – Report

During the first spring storm in Tokyo, TAB Talks welcomed Christian Schwartz, a New York-based typeface designer.

poster for TAB Talks #4

TAB Talks #4 "Christian Schwartz: Type Designer"

at Izakaya dharma Cafe
in the Tokyo: Others area
This event has ended - (2008-04-08)

In Tab Talks Talk Reports by TAB Talks 2008-05-04

His custom typefaces appear on numerous prestigious printed media such as the Wallpaper*, The New York Times, Esquire and The Guardian to name but a few. Christian shared his latest work and discussed the possibility of making a new font culture in Tokyo together with the Tokyo design community.A special newspaper using Christian's fonts was handed out to the audience.

The night was hosted by Chris Palmieri, a founder of Tokyo-based web design company AQ and a long time fan of Christian’s work. After a brief introduction by Chris, Christian was welcomed on stage and presented slides on “style and function”.Christian showing one of many fonts he has worked on.

Christian moved on to show us the largest typeface family he (or anyone) has ever worked on, the “Guardian” family. Commissioned by The Guardian, an influential daily newspaper in England for their first renewal in twenty years, it was Christian’s first work with Paul Barnes.One of the works presented on the slide was DB, a set of fonts designed for the German National Railroad company for their train schedule. Originally Helvetica was used but the problem was the similarity in the basic shapes of the numbers 3, 6, 8 and 9, as well as certain roman characters. Comparing the two sets of fonts on slides, Christian explained to the audience how he had to be creative to design new sets of fonts that can used in the most humble of situations.The audience is glued to Christian's presentation.

He explained how he drew four versions of a single set of characters, each with slightly different weights. This was done so that the designers can do a final test on the printing machine, which was still being assembled overseas. It was amazing to see the tremendous amount of work that goes into making these custom design fonts and how they create “harmonious visuals” on newspaper pages.In his words, well made fonts should be systematic, where there’s “an internal logic that governs the relationships between the characters”.

As Christian shows more of his works and explain his works, noticeably, quite a few audience members were taking notes.A nice surprise gift at the end!Thanks for the talk, Christian! (left)

The talk ended with a surprise gift to Christian. A member of the audience gave him a handmade box of “stardust fonts” with Christian’s name added as decoration on top. After the presentation, the night continued with an after party and the enthusiastic Tokyo type design community gathered around him to talk the night away.Christian continued to talk with audience members throughout the evening.

The next TAB Talks #6 is being held on May 13. We have invited Tomoki Sakuta from Arts & Law and he will conduct a workshop-style seminar to tell us how to understand and use the law to avoid trouble in creative collaboration among artists and creators, as well as protect your copyright without needing to pay for expensive lawyer fees!

TAB Talks

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